How many emails did you receive today? This afternoon? Or even in the last hour? Probably more than you care to count. The Inbox Zero dream is definitely dead.
- Today, there are 8 billion email users worldwide
- This number is expected to grow to over 4.2 billion by year-end 2022
- Total worldwide email traffic was estimated at over 281 billion emails per day by year-end 2018
- We’ll hit more than 333 billion emails per day by the end of 2022
The implication is clear: we all send and receive a lot of emails. But how do we make sure we’re sending emails that our recipients want to open and actually read? We’ve got you covered. Here are our top tips for getting your email content noticed, read, and acted on.
Hook them early
Subject lines (good and bad) have been the subject of endless discussion, testing, and drafting since the advent of email marketing. But why should we care? How much power does a subject line really have to influence the effectiveness of an email or its CTA? Well, quite a lot, actually: 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone.
With this in mind, it pays to put a lot of thought into your phrasing, formatting, and tone. Consider these five data-driven recommendations to improve your subject lines (and, by extension, your open rates and conversions):
- Use words that are proven to increase open rates—and avoid the terms that may trigger spam filters.
- Try using numbers and/or symbols in your subject line. A recent study from YesWare indicated that email open and reply rates are higher when a number is present in the subject line.
- Include at least one emoji. Campaign monitor reports that brands that use emojis in subject lines have seen a 56% increase in their unique open rates.
- Make it about 17-24 characters long. With so much email opened on mobile—50% of all email, in fact—you only have a small space (for example, 35-38 characters on iPhone portrait mode) to get your point across.
- Write it in title case. That same YesWare study found that subject lines in title case are most effective at boosting your open and reply rates.
♫ Say my name, say my name… ♫
We all like to feel a little special from time to time—even when it comes to the daily drudge of emails. That’s why one-size-fits-all rarely fits at all in the era of content personalization. In fact, personalized emails achieve a 26% higher open rate on average, and personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%
So what should you consider as first (second, and third) steps to personalize your emails?
- Get personal. Okay, this one’s a bit obvious: emails that include the first name of the recipient in their subject line achieve higher click-through rates than those that don’t.
- Be dynamic. Use dynamic content to present different content to different recipients of your email. Certain email tools allow you to create different versions of your email and personalize each “view” for different sets of subscribers based on the information you have about them (e.g. gender, age, purchase history, location, etc.).
- Automate. Although robots will never be able to completely replace humans (we hope…), there are some things that are best left to automation. When your user takes an action that requires a quick and simple response or action, consider using trigger-based automation to send them the email, serve them the ad, or update their record. Trigger-based automation is great for IFTTT logic like: user makes a purchase >> trigger >> digital receipt is emailed.
Get to the point
According to Radicati Group, there were 281 billion consumer and business emails sent every day in 2018—and that number is only expected to grow. That’s a lot of noise to cut through. So how do we make sure that once we’ve gotten someone to open our email (yay!), they actually want to read it and take action?
Here are a few tips:
- Make it scannable. Think bullet points, small paragraphs, and limited scroll requirements.
- Repeat the CTA. Add your email CTA in above the fold (and before your bullet points) to give readers the chance to act, and then repeat it at the end of the email to remind them what to do.
- Divide to conquer. Use headings and bolded text, but do so judiciously. Help readers understand what’s important by chunking information and making it easy to break up conceptually.
TEST. TEST. TEST. Deploy.
Once your email is complete, the next step is to test it. We already know that 50% of email gets opened on mobile, yet we all too often see email come through that isn’t optimized for our devices.
The best way to make sure your email communication comes through as intended is to test, test, test… and test again. Tools like Mailchimp will guide you in the testing process, enabling mobile and table views while highlighting possible spam and formatting issues across browsers and devices.
As a low-tech alternative, you can test your email with a batch of willing colleagues. Send them a version before the official communication goes out. If you get reports of wonky fonts, broken links, and pixelated images, it’s better to resolve them now rather than after the email has already been dispatched to 5,000 recipients (*insert cold sweats here*).
Of course, these suggestions are just starting point for writing and sending good better emails. If you want to know how a strong email strategy can help you drive your business forward in 2019, we’d love to chat.